Sunday, June 08, 2008

Brotherly Love

My partner and I had a town event to attend yesterday. We were vending and this was our first major vending event in that 20,000 to 40,000 people attend regularly. We had to be there by 7 a.m. to register and had until 10 to set up. But of course with her daughter and my 2 children, it took a little longer just to get there. Mr. T wouldn't be available for a while so the kids were tagging along with me and I'm used to traveling in a group anyway.

It was supposed to get over 90 degrees yesterday, which mattered because this was an outdoor affair. Still, the morning felt pretty good. It was just hectic. Very hectic, and trying to set up with our 3 kids running about or bugging us to get cotton candy didn't help. The event was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and it took us all the way to the last minute to do everything. Son's cub scout troop was supposed to sell lemonade there and I had hoped he could go do that for awhile but I knew Mr. T had to be there.

It grew hotter. A co-worker stopped by to help me and when she saw the kids were distracting us from dealing with potential customers, she graciously offered to take them around to the kiddie rides up the street. They had fun with her and before long Mr. T arrived with food for them, ready to go sell lemonade.

Peace was ours once again. We talked to people, sold a couple of puzzles and found out that the vendors who had done this event many years prior said this was in fact the worst they had ever done. It had to be OUR year that was the bad one, eh? Oh well, at least it wasn't us. My partner's cousin and niece came by to sit with us. We all talked, time went by and we wondered how the scouts were making out. It was only a couple of hours before the end of the day and we were close to the finish line.

Daughter appeared first. "Mommy, I was in the ambulance and I was eating ice cream," she said excitedly.

"Excuse me? Ambulance? What? Where's your daddy?"

Son followed, tears streaming down his face, crying one of his loudest cries. Oh Lord. Now what? Mr. T was close behind. Son came to me crying, hysterical, and I couldn't uderstand but I couldn't let him do this in a place of business either. I motioned to the chair at the table behind me and told him to sit and calm down. Mr T told me about games they were playing at the booth and letting Son and Daughter play in some bouncy thing when Son came back without Daughter.

"I went the wrong way," she said.

"I'm confused," I told them. "What happened? Why was she in an ambulance? Why is he crying?"

My partner was talking to Son trying to get him to calm down as well. She knew as well as I did his penchant for the dramatic but Lassie could get a story across better than my son when he's in hysteria mode. The woman in the booth beside me pulled back the fabric that had been hanging between us.

"Do you know that little boy," she asked. She thought he was lost. I guess she hadn't been paying much attention for the hours and hours he and Daughter and Bizzy Girl's daughter had been running around playing. "He's mine," I responded with a smile mixed with appreciation for her seeming caring question and annoyance by what also seemed to her slight aggravation at the noise.

"You know," Bizzy Girl told Son. "If you keep this up you're going to have to pay money."

"Money," Son asked between gasps of air.

"Yep. People are working here and you will drive away their customers with all that noise, so you'll have to pay for that." That seemed to help a bit.

"Son, you have to calm down. I don't understand you. So you sit and get yourself together and then tell me what happened."

Mr. T had tried to explain what he knew, which didn't seem to be any more than the kids did. He was busy helping the scouts with their game booth. One minute the kids were playing behind him, the next Son came back alone. Some girl had found Daughter and took her to the ambulance workers. I still don't know how someone knew to come to him and tell him where she was but thank God someone did. Mr T went to her and found her happily eating ice cream in the ambulance.
When Son had finally gotten quiet, I asked him again. "So what happened?"

"We were playing in the bouncy thing and Daughter left. I tried to tell her to come back but she wouldn't listen to me." That's not surprising. "I went after her but I couldn't find her." The tears started to flow again and his mouth went back into his loud cry. Oh how that cry bugs the heck out of me. He just sits there with his mouth hanging open making all the noise in the world - waaaaaa! - and I want to just disappear. "Don't start this, Son. I can't understand you. She's here. She's fine. Why are you still crying?"

"I tried to find her but I fell," he cried loudly. He had fallen trying to get back to Mr. T.

"But. She's. Here," I repeated, trying to be patient. "She's OK. What's wrong now?"

He cried and looked at me as if he didn't want to say what he really thought. But then he did. "If she's gone, I'll have no one to play with," he sniffed and geared up for a louder cry. "...and my life will be empty! Waaaa!" He yelled louder, letting the tears and his runny nose soak his shirt. Yes, my friends, this is EXACTLY what he said. He'd have no one to play with and his life would be empty. You know those cartoon with crying babies that hold their faces up to the sky, mouths gaping and tears spraying out like they were shooting from sprinklers? That was the scene, my friends. I had to turn away and deal with my muddle of laughter and anger. Son really knows how to take something to its most extreme point but what I am supposed to do with that I have yet to figure out.

Eventually normalcy returned and I brought Son next to me. "Look. I understand you were scared. Daughter doesn't listen to anyone. We know that. That's not your fault. You didn't know where she was and you got scared. Your mind went to the worst place you could imagine and you are having a hard time coming back from that. OK. But she was safe. Daddy found her. Everything is OK. You, on the other hand..." I sighed. "I'm at a loss, Son. You are dramatic. You always have been and I don't know what to do with it. Clearly you are my sensitive child and God made you that way for a really important reason but you have to learn some control. If something had been wrong with her, it would have been a whole 5 or 10 minutes before we could have done anything because when you get hysterical like this, no one can understand what you are saying and we can't do a thing but wait for you to calm down. We both have to learn what to do with this, Son. It has to change." I had to hug him. I didn't want him to think there was anything wrong with him feeling the way he did but it still annoyed the heck out of me.

"You know, Son. There one good thing about this. You now know how you'd feel if you didn't have your sister. Maybe it can teach you to treat her better, huh?" I know that was wishful thinking. Still, I have to appreciate a boy losing his little mind because he thought he had lost his little sister. As much as they scream at each other and hit each other and run to tattle on the other, I know my son and daughter love each other with the deepest love they know how to show. Daughter is a fighter and she can yell you down if you try to hurt her brother. Son is a lover and he'll hug her and hold on to her as long as she'll let him. Somehow I have to teach Daughter to not be so darn stubborn and Son to not be so sooooo sensitive. And I think I'm supposed to keep my sanity in the meanwhile.

God help me.

No comments: